Half Moon Bay, California November 2012

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tooth #4 -- OUT!

It makes me laugh that they are coming out so quickly!  Although the first was so sudden (while eating corn on the cob), the rest are literally just being tugged out!  This one was no exception.  He had been working at it but it wouldn't come out on its own. So he finally asked me to help.  With a few tugs of the floss... OUT it came!  :)  Ahhhh... relief!  He was having issues eating corn on the cob (one of his favorite things to eat)!  Now he can have some!  YAY!!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

First Day of School!

We just came back from a two week camping trip... I would love to blog about that (and have started the post) but it will take me some time to get it all done.  So we are going to skip forward so I can tell you about my two children... who are so grown up now and headed off to a different stage in their little lives.

MG started 3rd grade today!!!!
She had waffles with Nutella and whipped cream for breakfast:
 MD wanted the same!
 And whatever big sis and big bro wants... yes, you've got it, E wants too!
 Here they are... ready for school!  MG accompanied by her two little brothers.
 And we are off!!!  (check out E in the background -- who knows what he's up to!)
 Waiting to cross -- check out the big crowd of walkers on the first day!
 Crossing the street -- that's the school principal in the vest on your left!  She is great that way -- up close and personal!
 A final pose at the front of the school:
 Waiting in line for the bell to ring:

At the end of the day I was able to capture a picture of her and her teacher.  But for some reason, I cannot upload it right now... 

While she was in school...MD was getting anxious for his turn!  So by 10:45 AM he was ready to go!
He was happy to leave with just Mommy for his first day of Kindergarten!
 Very confident young man leading the way!
 Ready to enter the kindergarten gated area:
 Meeting Mrs. Lozoya for the first time.  While waiting in line with me, he was looking ahead at her greeting other children and then turned to me and said, "Mom, she seems like a nice teacher."
 He entered his classroom and looked for his packet to hand to me, along with his name tag:
 He began his activities with me in tow -- the first one was a hand tracing activity to go along with a book they will read later called The Kissing Hand.  (sweet book -- the same one I read to my Kindergarten class when I taught!)
Then he read a book next to me.  He read 90% of the book.  :)
 Then he went to explore Legos with some boys:
 Mes. Lozoya called them to the rug for a story about Miss Bindergarten and her kindergarten class (love these books!!!):
 Then off he went to his last activity with me around -- writing what he did to get ready for Kindergarten.  He decided to draw him walking to school with his siblings and myself.  :)
Then I left him... a bit teary eyed.... while he finished his day without me...
After school I picked him up and we quickly went to have his yearly wellness check.  As if we didn't know already... he is healthy as can be! 95% in weight and 90% in height!  This was his favorite part of the check up.  He giggled a lot!  :)  Dr. Zorian commented that he seems very mature for his age... I hope that continues!  ;)
I am glad today is over... First days have always been stressful for me... even as a teacher!  :0

Monday, August 15, 2011

Happy 6th Birthday Matthew!

I am so sorry that we lost your baby pictures... (I will be saying this every year, just so you know!)  These are the only "close to babyish" photos we can find of you.  This first one is when you were about 2-3 months old swimming in the kiddie pool at the big play group birthday party!
And this is you with uncle Jim, you were about one when went camping at the Pinnacles:
And now... look at you!  My big, tough guy!!!  (you've already lost 3 teeth within the last couple of months - 2 of which you pulled out yourself!)  I often forget that you are *only* 5 because of how you behave in various situations, but then something happens and you cry... then I realize, right... you are only 5!  And now you are 6!!!
You are lovable, cheerful, and loud!  (it is never a dull, quiet moment when you are around!)  I believe quiet is a word rarely used in your dictionary!  :)  You say because everything is so exciting so you have to be loud about it!  (that, my dear, is hilarious!)
You are very active.  You love to ride your 2 wheeler (!), scooter like a mad man, kick a soccer ball to nowhere land, RUN wild anywhere and anytime, swim like a fish, and bowl as if your life depended on it!
No matter the situation, you always find something fun or interesting to do or talk about.  You don't always care what others think.  You mostly do what you feel is right (but you are also easily influenced!).  You are a lover of science and are curious to no end!  (we love that about you, even though it drives me bonkers!)
This year you have learned to swim to the point where I no longer worry about you.  You have taught yourself how to whistle and you are pretty darn good at it!  (You can even whistle a tune!)  This year you have also become a Harry Potter fan.  (sometimes not always a good thing!)  You love listening to the audio CDs and enjoy some parts of the movies but would prefer to watch with an adult!  (and now you are caught up and have asked to watch the last movie next summer!)  Everything you find turns into a wand.  I've mistakenly asked to you get rid of * that* stick and you quickly reply, "No mom,.it's my wand." Kindergarten is going to be a blast for you after having had so many homeschooling science and art classes last year.  They better be prepared for you... a lover of conversations and questions!  (and a pretty great reader!)

Happy Birthday Big Guy, I love you to the moon and back!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Happy 8th Birthday Miss Morgan!

It seems only yesterday that we brought you home... where we felt so inadequate BUT not helpless!  You were an easy baby to love.  You cried when you were hungry (which wasn't very often!) and slept a lot!  We were given so many advice on how to care for you... but the one we felt we had to go against... we held you A LOT!  :)  You were so tiny and so easy to hold!  And you were our first, so how could we not?

And now look at you!  You have grown to be a very cheerful, lovable, kind, conscientious, and practical young girl.  You are well liked by your peers and get along with a lot of people.  You go with the flow... but often point out what is incorrect during the following of the flow!  ;)  And the two greatest accomplishments this year for you has been 1) donating your hair for a worthy cause and 2) attending a girl scout camp over night WITHOUT mom or dad!  Although you have accomplished so much, I would say those are the 2 biggest for a 7 year old!

You love to read, play chess with your brother, kick around a soccer ball, throw Frisbees, hula hoop, bake with mom, write letters to your friends, RUN wild out on the grass, swim with your brothers and friends, bowl...
Your favorite activity this summer was riding your scooter:
You have learned to write cursive, dabble at the multiplication tables, read the recipes to bake a cake with mom, and almost beat me in our summer reading contest.  I say almost because you could read a whole chapter book (over 200 pages) in one day!  Your determination to beat me forced me to bring out the competitiveness in me and I read more books this summer than I have in the last 4 years! So, thank you for helping me spend some time to decompress and enjoy some great books this summer!

And now you are off to 3rd grade at the end of the summer! I ask myself this all the time... where has the time gone?!

I love you my princess!!!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Great Outdoors... Our Adventures at Hamaker (to and from)

(This is a YEAR overdue!!!  This post is picture heavy (and I mean it!).  It "summarizes" our two weeks camping trip to Hamaker in Oregon and then back home.  Read at your own risk!)

You know, camping is a fun event. I look forward to it every time we plan for it.  It *IS* fun... but it is also a lot of work!  After being back home for over a week am I able to sit back, relax, and reflect on our time camping...
This is what I wrote the night after our return home:
We left on August 6th. We were away for two full weeks!  Let me tell you how excited I was to be home!  I quickly helped hubby unload the car and immediately took the children inside the house for a long shower!  It was the best shower EVER!  After dinner I started laundry.... after 4 loads, I allowed myself the luxury of going to bed, only to wake up and start laundry all over again.  Tonight, after being home for a full day, I can happily tell you that our laundry is DONE!  I washed, folded, dried, washed, folded, dried, until my hands were tired!  (the whites turned out better than I thought... who knew that actual dirt eventually WILL come off in the wash!)
I am tired... So now I can fast forward to review our trip... I can peacefully enjoy some blogging time without thinking of laundry... until school starts on Monday, then we are back to our regular program of washing, folding, drying, etc. you get the picture!

And this is where I will pick up... after being away from this post for over a week!
August 6, 2011 --
Our car was fully loaded!
 Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge:
 Stopped at Denny's for breakfast:
(yes, he ate that ALL up and asked for more -- so we gave him an extra bowl of mash potatoes on the side!)
 Mac and cheese is the best!
 She loves her mac and cheese... with a side of mashed potatoes!
 After breakfast it was a long drive in Hidden Spring (our campsite), we eventually pulled over and made a quick stop for lunch at Navarro River Redwoods State Park:
where MD was unfortunately stung by a wasp (but he was okay, he knows how to behave because of Uncle Jim's expertise in bee keeping -- and this was his second sting).  He calmly came back and reported he was stung but that he stayed calm and walked away from it slowly.  He asked to have it covered so he wouldn't think about it too much (that's how I operate!).
 This is our first camping stop as we work our way up to Oregon.  This is Hidden Springs, one of my favorite camping sites.  It is located in Humbolt County -- so beautiful!  (one draw back -- lots of poison oak, which everyone avoided!)
 Dinner was lasagna that I had made the night before so we could reheat on the stove and have an easy 1st night's meal:
August 7 -- we kept it simple today:
I was reading this book for a bit:
 While the boys helped Daddy make breakfast:
Then we spent the rest of the afternoon at the river.  What an amazing place to be!

August 8 --
we packed up pretty early and were on our way up north some more.  Look at the beautiful trees!
 We stopped at our favorite rock shop and did some perusing... and made a few purchases too.
 He didn't buy this but he sure did wish he could have it!
 He was very interested in these few boxes:
 She thought Ma would like this... no, not really!  She knew Ma wouldn't like it but she thought it was pretty cool.  It's not real!
 After the rock shop, we ventured toward this beautiful house:
 But Jim liked this pink one across the street so we ventured there for a photo:
 Then back in the car we went... toward our lunch destination.  We have been saving our appetite for this place!
 It's a huge cookhouse -- fit for lumberjacks back in the days...
 Isn't it great?!
 We sat down....
 and had a great meal!!!!
 Afterwards, girly girl was given a surprise!  It is her birthday today!!!!!
 Can you believe she is EIGHT?!!!!  (she's also itching at her mosquito bites... poor girl, she's always so vulnerable to those things!  She must have really sweet blood.)
 On the way most of the children fell asleep.  Upon waking up we saw a strange sight....
 How would you like to wake up to find that in your front yard?!
After a few photos, we went along to this place...
and joined everyone else...
in watching this whale -- poor whale was stuck in the river!
It was quite a sight!!!
And so amazing to be able to see it so close!!!  Check out the blow hole action!
That evening, we were treated to a wonderful dinner of salmon and abalone.  Clare's very good friend's daughter, Laura, Husband (John), and daughter, Nadia, stopped by our campsite in Hidden Springs for dinner the night before.  We all had a great time chatting.  They returned the next morning with fish and abalone that John had caught/dived for recently.  They even provided seasoning and John tenderized the abalone for us.  So, of course, we saved that special meal for this evening!  What a wonderful treat.
In addition to this wonderful meal (MG's birthday meal), we were also invited to stay at Clare's niece's vacation rental, since we were just passing through for the night.  Thank goodness we did not have to pitch a tent this evening!  It was nice to pull up, make dinner, sit for a bit, then go to bed!

August 9:
The next morning we woke up, had a quick breakfast and were back in the car again!
We stopped to have lunch at Dairy Queen.... secretly I didn't care about the actual lunch... just the chocolate dipped ice cream afterwards!  (shhhh!)
 Apparently my son agrees with me!  ;)  (that's my boy!)
We are now getting closer!  The children (minus sleeping E) went in to visit the rangers at the Ranger Station while I waited.  They picked up some activities to do at the camp site and during our stay at Hamaker.  Once we arrive at Hamaker we are on our own - no rangers at our site...
After this visit we pulled over and took a short walk to see...
The Rogue River Gorge:
It's a powerful thing!
Then MD stopped to check out this thing.  It's a living stump!  According to this site it's zombie tree!  (basically it's surviving by attaching it's roots to a living tree.  Pretty cool, huh?)

They had a play session with Auntie Clare:
Then it was back on the road...
It was (thankfully) a short drive to our camp ground!
 This is their first experience with a hand pump!  This is how we fetched water for our camp site everyday.
 Need I say more?  (it's very basic... VERY)
 The boys were off to explore!
 This is my favorite picture:
 Here is our camp site!
 Everyone pitching in...
 Our first meal at Hamaker -- TACOS!
August 10, 2011
The next morning, E helped Auntie Clare collect a bucket of water: 
And MD found a friend!
But we agreed he would return the frog to its home after they had turns holding it...
Watching it to see where it goes...
 Then they went to help dad get the fire started...
 And we ate a delicious breakfast!
 See spent a few minutes sketching out the bugs he collected in the bug catcher that Ms. Lori bought him for his birthday:
 Then the children went back to the river.  MG insisted on fishing. So Corinna helped her get started:
 Casting her line:
 And waiting....
 All three seemed pretty content here.  They played here for a good 2 hours!  The water was sooo cold!!!!  But they didn't seem to mind at all!
 Dinner was a big treat -- beef stew!  Everything was cooked in our new dutch oven!  (Including the croissants... a little burnt, but good!)
 Poor MG -- all covered up.. those darn mosquitos sure love her!

 August 11, 2011
We are on our way to Crater Lake!
A vista point... When we travel with Uncle Jim, there are always many vista points.  He seems to know the best spots.  :)

 There's Mt. Thielsen!

 Almost there to Crater Lake!
 Snow???  Really???  Really!!!  It was THAT cold!
 Isn't this a beautiful view?!  (the lake isn't bad either! ;))
 Everyone enjoying the view:
 The children loved that little island there because it's called... Wizard island!
 And this summer - everything is about Harry Potter!  :)
 Enjoying the view with Auntie Clare:
He's working on his photography here... 
On the drive back to camp, we refilled our water bottles... with fresh snow melted  water!
These two never cease to amaze me... they can read in the car while it's in motion!

The evening's dinner was another delicious meal -- salmon, green beans,and rice!
 And what a treat... Uncle Jim and Auntie Clare's freinds, Hans and Annmarie stopped by for a visit!  They were driving back  to the bay area from Canada (they were visiting their son and grandchildren!).  They stayed over for one night and then left the next day -- very early!

 August 12, 2011
On this special day -- a delicious smell woke us all up...  pancakes!!!!  It was a wonderful start to a new day!

 And on this day.. the river was going to get its new shipment of... trout?!
 What?!  We didn't think we would be so lucky to witness the re-stocking of trout at the river we were camped close to...but here we are witnessing it first hand!  This gentleman was really nice about allowing the children to be so close to him.  he didn't mind at all and allowed the children to see the fish before he...
 released them!!!!
 E was very excited!  :)
 After the morning's excitement, they went back to play....
 Write in their journal...
 Work on their activity books from the ranger station...
 And just kept busy!
 After all that, we finally were able to celebrate this special day!
 Gifts are always necessary!  :)
 He was excited... no?!
 She's playing with her fairy items that Auntie Clare gave her for her birthday a few days ago.  She's showing it off to Auntie Clare:
 After lunch Auntie Clare and Uncle Jim presented their gifts!  A camping set!  :)
 And later that night after dinner, he blew out his birthday cake!  (Made in our new dutch oven over the camp fire!  And it tasted just fine!)  Happy 6th Birthday MD!!!!

August 13, 2011
Today was an adventure in itself... I mean it! Just the drive to Lake West nearly gave me a heart attack!  I didn't think we were going to make it there (never mind how we were going to make it back to camp!).  The road was.. well, unpaved!  We were 4-wheeling in a non 4-wheeler!  At one point during the drive we had to get everyone out of the car so Vince could get it over a hot without the weight!  It was pretty crazy!  But we made it....
 And the children went right to "work!"
 This is Lake West but to the children, it is Pollywog Lake!
 They had so much fun collecting these pollywogs!
 Look at them!
 Even Corinna joined int he fun.  (yes, I stayed on dry land and watched!)
 Vince needed a bit of relaxing after that drive!
 Love this!!!
 He is so proud of his find!
 Now MG is off on the raft!  :)
 Look what Dad found!!!
 And he is always the brave soul to hold anything and everything that Mom won't go near!
 Look what they found!  A wooden raft!
 Off they go!
 How cute is that?!
 Ooops... not moving fast enough for you, MD?  Well, at least E stayed on as he was told!
 MD wanted a go too...
 Dad and E collecting together:
 And then it was back in the car after lunch...  I'll spare you the details...  Needless to say, i was happy to have made it back to camp!
 Corinna had a surprise for us all that night!  Jiffy Popcorn!!!!
 MG made cute boat napkins for everyone to hold their popcorn!  Isn't she clever?!
 August 14, 2011
We took a half mile hike to National Creek Falls today.  Look how outdoorsy she looks!  (ahem... she never even used the binoculars!)

 Off they go!
 Of course, when we hike with Uncle Jim -- we often take a few side steps and observe nature... and taste a few things -- namely sorrel this time.  :)
 Almost there...
 Uncle Jim showing E something...
 What a trooper he is!
 And here we are!
 Isn't the view beautiful?!
 She's something else -- I love her!
 He's something else too!  Gotta love him too!
 Look at that waterfall!
 And he is just too cute for words... just sayin'

We stopped for a snack break - notice who is already wet?  No, of course, we didn't plan on getting wet.  But you never really know with him.  he just goes off on his own!
 Look what we saw while we were snacking!
 After our return from the hike, we went on a shorter hike to the Hamaker house. On the way Corinna showed the children wild strawberries!
 Of course, we picked and enjoyed some on the walk to Hamaker house.
 Off we go again...

 Look at that field!  Isn't it gorgeous???  They are each standing at a corner of where the Hamaker house used to be:
 Love them!!!!
 Heading back...
 We picked some flowers along the way for Auntie Clare -- wild flowers are so beautiful!
 Look who we ran into on the way back to camp!
 MG helping Auntie Clare get the flowers ready for the table:
 Auntie Clare bought a new book to read to them:
 Corinna finished it...
 The beautiful flowers we picked:
 A nice dinner...
 August 15, 2011

On the way to the Lava Beds National Park, we ran into a car issue so we had to stay in Klamath Falls for a few hours while the car was being fixed.  Of course, a trip wouldn't be a trip without poor Uncle Jim's car getting a look-over by a mechanic!  :)

But they didn't seem to mind at all!  Doesn't he look like a giant in that little train?!
 He loved this car!
 A few hours later we were back on the road to our final destination of the day:
 Along the way we picked some gooseberries:
 And up they go!
 And down he came!
 These lava rocks are pretty sharp and made me nervous.  But he did just fine on his own and made it to the top without any issues:
 This is/was an ice cave:

 Pretty cool in there...
 But it was hot outside!
 And then we were off... It was a long day and we still had to have dinner and find our cabins at Burney Falls:

August 16, 2011:
It was late the night before.  We were hungry. Most places were closed.  We stumbled upon a hotel that was still open.  They were nice enough to open their restaurant for us so we could have a nice meal.  After we were fed, we slowly made our way to the car... and drove on to our cabin.  we had no idea what it looked like because it was so dark.  But we found it... And had a great night's rest!
In the morning we finally saw our cabin... not bad at all.  I wish we could have stayed longer.  But this was only a short stop along the way home now...

 At the top of the falls:
 Isn't it an amazing view?
 Of course, I made them pose!  :)

He and dad  made it to the bottom before we did -- where he got the i=energy, I'm not sure!
 Interestingly enough, at the top of the falls are homes to these sparrows!
 Corinna is always so good at explaining things to the children:
 We made it!!!!
 Of course, he was not happy to view from the top.  He had to make his way down!  But he stayed dry for my sake!
 A nice lunch...
 Then back on the road...
 And we made it to our next stop -- Lassen National Forest!
 Our first visit to see the Subway cave:
 We were prepared with out jackets and headlamps:
 Lots of steps!
 Check that out!  It was cold down there!
 But soooo hot out here!
 And there is Mount Lassen!
 And this is where we will be camping for a few more days before we head home!

August 17, 2011
This is where we pitched the tent... But it was not the best place for us during the day!  It was hot, humid, and full of mosquitos!  So we stayed out a lot!

 Can you believe this?!
 On to our next hike...
 Bumpass Hell Trail

Um... should we turn back????
Guess not!
 It was kind of tricky.  We started out with snow...
 Then there was nothing but dirt...
 A beautiful view....

 Then back to snow....
 Hello family!  (please be careful Dad! Precious cargo!)

 More snow...
 More snow...
Ummm... what's that smell?!!!!
 SULFUR!!!!  We made it!
 Although it took them awhile to get used to it.. they loved the experience!
 She's cute no matter where she goes. :)
 Helllloooo there!!!!
 Errrrr, Uncle Jim, should you be teaching them that?!  I thought you couldn't touch sulfur!
 Hi everyone... :)  (except Auntie Clare)
 Back at camp, doing what they love best of all while camping!
 and YUMMMM!
 After s'mores, we headed back into the car and attended a starry night tour with a ranger:
 Dad getting his gear ready:

August 18, 2011
On our last day at Lassen National Park, we took a wake around the lake near our camp site:

 It was very relaxing...
 The children just enjoyed the stroll:
 They even sat nice and still for awhile hoping a dragonfly would land on them...
 But they landed on the log next to them instead!
 And i found a deer!  :0
August 19, 2011
We packed up our tent and headed home...
We stopped at a small town (forgot where!) and had a nice breakfast:

 MD made a new friend... heeeheee..
 E liked the decor here...
 So cute!
 LOVE this little guy!